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Use the information provided on this site as an educational resource for determining your options and making your
own informed choices. It is not intended as medical advice or to diagnose, prescribe, or treat any specific illness.
|Tactile System: The tactile system includes nerves under the skin's surface that send information to the
brain. This information includes light touch, pain, temperature, and pressure. These play an important role
in perceiving the environment as well as protective reactions for survival.
Dysfunction in the tactile system can be seen in withdrawing when being touched, refusing to eat certain
'textured' foods and/or to wear certain types of clothing, complaining about having one's hair or face
washed, avoiding getting one's hands dirty (i.e., glue, sand, mud, fingerpaint)and using one's finger tips
rather than whole hands to manipulate objects. Children who have trouble identifying things by touch
(tactile discrimination) have under-responsive tactile processing. They sometimes seem insensitive. They
may not react to pain and may not realize their hands or face are dirty. They'll crave touching, being
touched, and may touch others too often or too hard (may seem aggressive). These children will be
finger-painting their arms, stuffing their mouths with too much food, shouting indoors, turning up the
volume and bumping and crashing into people and furniture.
In children with under-responsive tactile processing, therapy should provide a wide variety of tactile
experiences such as vibrations, stroking with a small soft-bristle (baby) brush, and rubbing. Children may
play with shaving cream, play dough, silly putty, cornstarch mixed with water, rice, beans, and finger
paints. They should be encouraged to use scissors, construction toys, markers and chalk.
Children with over-responsive tactile systems may need calming activities such as low lighting, soft music,
slow rocking, deep pressure, being wrapped in a blanket, and sucking on something. Their environments
can be modified to reduce stress by eliminating excessive stimuli. Some therapists encourage these
children to participate in a variety of tactile experiences similar to those given under-responsive children.
Fidgets are often given to help with concentration and focus.
Therapeutic massage is also used for many Sensory Disorders.
|Toys, Products, and Ideas
for Sensory Education